Quick Recipes and Easy

Cold Porter – Night and Day – A Drink for All Seasons

Porter is a centuries-ancient drink, an ale made with highly dried malt, nearly burned, and naturally carbonated. It was named porter after the dock workers who loaded and unloaded ships and used it to slake their labor intensified thirst at a cost they could afford.

Porters are red-brown to black in color, medium to medium-full bodied, and characterized by a flavor profile that can vary from very subtle dark malts to fully roasted, smoky flavors. Being a centuries ancient style, there are differences of opinion with regard to what a “right” porter was really like and there can be wide variations from one brewer’s interpretation to the next. Roasted malt should provide the flavoring character, rather than roasted barley as is used with stouts. Stronger, darker versions and lighter more delicate versions are equally valid manifestations of the style. The influence of hops can often be notable in the richer craft brewed examples of the style.

It was particularly to be found in London and other parts of England, and in Ireland, especially in the city of Dublin where it was drunk by the many and called, among other things, “plain”. The drink is mentioned often in the writings of James Joyce, especially in Dubliners and Ulysses. It comes up naturally enough in Finnegans Wake since it is set pretty much in a pub, but it is not always simple to know what is going on in that chronicle. The reader is advised not to drink too much porter while reading Finnegans Wake, although a case could be made for that approach.

(Two-cents Plain is another matter. It refers to soda water with nothing in it for flavoring, common in immigrant New York when people could not afford the five cents flavored drink. See Leo Rosten’s Joys of yiddish for more).

Until about the 1970’s porter was ignored in the U. S. It probably is not possible to find out the exact time and place that porter started to be made in America to a degree that it became an vital commodity. Some suggest that the Anchor Brewery in San Francisco, well-known for its Anchor Steam Beer started the trend in the early 1970’s with its Anchor porter which spread to the burgeoning microbreweries which now dot the landscape in profusion. It is usual now for a microbrewery to offer its own version of a porter.

Examples:

XXXX Porter from the Ringwood Brewery in Hampshire, England.

Alaskan Smoked Porter from Alaskan Brewing Company in Juneau, Alaska

Anchor Porter from Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco, California

Bell’s Porter from Bell’s in Kalamazoo, Michigan

Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon

Blackhook Porter from Redhook in Woodinville, Washington

Bully! Porter from Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, Missouri

Carnegie Porter brewed by Carlsberg in Sweden

Edmund Fitzgerald Porter from Fantastic Lakes in Cleveland, Ohio.

Flag Porter from Elgoods in Wisbech, England

Fuller’s London Porter from Fuller, Smith and Turner in Chiswick, England

Fantastic Northern Porter Summit Brewing Company from Saint Paul, Minnesota

James Squire Porter from Malt Shovel Brewery in Sydney, Australia

John Sleeman Fine Porter from Sleeman in Guelph, Canada

Koff Porter from Sinebrychoff in Kerava, Finland (Baltic Porter)

Limfjords-Porter from Thisted Bryghus in Thisted, Denmark

Nøgne Ø Porter from Nøgne Ø in Grimstad, Norway

Rogue Mocha Porter from Rogue in Newport, Oregon

Perkuno’s Hammer from Heavyweight Brewing in Ocean Township, New Jersey (Baltic Porter)

Saku Porter from Saku in Harjumaa, Estonia. (Baltic Porter)

Sierra Nevada Porter from Sierra Nevada in Chico, California

Taddy Porter from Samuel Smith in Tadcaster, England

Utenos Porteris from Utenos in Utena, Lithuania (Baltic Porter)

Yuengling Porter from D.G. Yuengling & Son in Pottsville, Pennsylvania

Zywiec Porter from Zywiec in Cieszyn, Poland (Baltic Porter)

Porter is dark and thick, foamy and bubbly. It has a sharp, sweet, bitter taste that stays on the tongue for awhile. It resembles having steak, salad and dessert all together in one swig. Or two.

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Jack Wilson is a writer and artist in Tempe, AZ

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